EDFAS Heritage Volunteers

When Patricia Fay founded NADFAS in 1968 she was determined that Societies should not only encourage the enjoyment of the decorative and fine arts through a programme of lectures and study days but also actively contribute to the preservation of our heritage.

For over thirty years teams of Edinburgh Heritage Volunteers have worked on a variety of conservation and archival projects in and around the city. Many historic houses, museums, galleries, libraries and other organisations have welcomed our members and greatly appreciated our contribution. These include Dalmeny House, Hopetoun House, Museum of Childhood, Lauriston Castle, Advocates Library, Royal College of Physicians Library, Scottish National Portrait Gallery, National Gallery of Scotland, National Museums of Scotland, Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland, Newliston House, Archers Hall, National Trust for Scotland, City of Edinburgh Museum, Royal College of Surgeons Library and the Royal Botanic Gardens of Edinburgh Library.

Heritage Volunteers are engaged on these current projects:

1 - Royal Botanic Gardens of Edinburgh Library - Book Cleaning and Conservation

From a team of sixteen volunteers, a rota of four comes once a week to the Library of the Royal Botanic Garden in Inverleith Row. Work began in 2008 and the cleaning and conservation of the 80,000 volumes, following training by the National Library of Scotland, is expected to take several years.

2 - City of Edinburgh Libraries - "Capital Collections" Remedial Conservation

Thousands of historic images of Edinburgh, both engravings and photographs, require new conservation grade supports, mounts, and protective pockets. A team of some 18 volunteers began this work in 2010 with four to five members coming twice a week for two hour sessions.

The contribution from the EDFAS volunteers is making it possible to safeguard this important archive of images from Edinburgh's past, work that current resources available to the Library might not permit. To give some idea of the size of the project, in the two years since they started, the team have processed between 3,000 and 4,000 images, but the archive may run to around 20,000 images in total.

3 - RCAHMS - Image Documentation

Two volunteers continue to work at the Royal Commission on Ancient & Historical Monuments of Scotland locating illustrations of buildings and monuments in the Rare Books Collection and entering a description and reference onto the "Canmore" online database which is of immense value to staff and members of the public at large.

4 - National Gallery of Scotland - Archive Documentation

A team of up to four volunteers come to the Print Room of the National Gallery of Scotland each Thursday morning. They identify, dry mount and label often quite rare images of works of art which are then stored in box files under artists' names and used by the curators and visiting academics for research purposes.

5 - Edinburgh City Archives - Cleaning, Documentation and Storage of Historic Plans

Two Edinburgh Heritage Volunteers have joined several members of Stirling DFAS in their work at Edinburgh City Archives in the City Chambers. Once a month they clean, catalogue and store in archival quality envelopes fascinating historic plans and architectural drawings, extending their life and allowing them to be easily retrieved for future use.

6 - National Museums of Scotland - Jean Muir Archive and Historic Dress Collection

A group of nine selected volunteers goes once a month to the National Museums of Scotland storage facility at Granton. Having assisted with the Jean Muir archive for a year, they are now making hundreds of padded hangers, urgently required for the historic costume collection, which was recently transferred to a brand new store on the site.